Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Jeff Goldblum, Juliette Lewis, Patrick Wilson, Todd Louiso
Director: Josh Gordon, Will Speck
Writer(s): Allan Loeb
Cinematography: Jess Hall
Original Score: Alex Wurman
Running Time: 100 Mins.
The rom-com, as we all know, is far from a rare beast, with one being released every couple of weeks as a rule it is a sure-fire genre to lure ladies into the multiplex, what is a little more scarce though is the rom-come told from a male perspective something which often bears surprisingly good fruition with (500) Days of Summer and The 40 Year Old Virgin being excellent examples. While The Switch never scales those heights (no fault of its lead male) it is none-the-less a rather surprising treat, consistently amusing and touching in equal measure.
Originally called The Baster (a slightly misleading title that suggests a more bawdy film) the makers wisely opted for The Switch, not the best but much more apt given this is an age-old story of bff’s (Aniston and Bateman) that actually love each other but one doesn’t know it (natch) and the other keeps it (badly) hidden but low and behold you just know where this tale ends through the plot engineering turn of events, which here sees the titular switch involving a semen donor (Wilson)! You can likely guess what happens as Kassie (Aniston) moves away for 7 years before returning with a 6-year-old child that oddly enough both resembles and acts like Kassie’s pining friend Wally who has, in 7 years been unable to move on and couldn’t be happier to have the (undisclosed) love of his life back.
Will Wally get the girl? Will he reveal all about “the switch” ? Will Wally bond with his secret son? Will there be a touch and go moment? Likely you know the answer to these are every other question The Switch poses but it is carried off with such a warm fuzy sense of likeability you can’t help but enjoy every predictable second. Largely down to Bateman’s performance, he is given a chance to shine with an opening monologue that suggests something a little more scathing than the 100 minutes that follow, never-the-less Wally is the kind of person you can’t help but root for even when he is at his neurotic, and deceptive, worst.
Sadly the same cannot be said of Aniston who is sadly something of a charisma vacuum here, surprising given how good a presence she was in Marley and Me, as Kassie she is given very little to do other than react which is something of a good thing as the romance plot seems to take a back seat to the father/son bonding which has a welcoming feel of About A Boy to it, sardonic and real rather than cutesy and irksome every scene Bateman shares with his onscreen son is a joy, as are the obligatory “best-friend” scenes with a great, but unusually cast, Jeff Goldblum delivering all the biggest guffaws amidst the chuckles that Bateman gets.
The rest of the stock characters are just that, and Patrick Wilson’s potential beau is detestably unlikable even though he isn’t written as a villain as such, the character just comes across as an arse you really can’t help but wonder what Kassie sees in him on any level! These are forgettable drawbacks though in a film that doesn’t really aim high but sits nicely as an enjoyable diversion after all the crash bang of summer.
The Switch is a warm and fuzzy film that is as feel-good as you could want, Bateman proves his worth and then some in a rom-com that is somewhat lacking in the rom but has something better up its sleeve.